Osaka Prefecture and Osaka City, both of which are aiming to host an integrated resort (IR) featuring a casino, announced on March 27 that they will abandon the plan to open an IR before the 2025 World Exposition (Osaka Kansai World Expo). The decision was made out of consideration for operators who may be affected by the spread of the new coronavirus. Deadlines for proposal submission, operator selection, and handing over of property will be postponed by 3 to 6 months.
In February 2020, a joint group including U.S. MGM Resorts International and Orix Corporation had responded to the public solicitation for business operators. Osaka governor Hirofumi Yoshimura told reporters that MGM had requested an extension to the deadline for proposal submission. Along with the schedule changes, the phrase “aim to open [the IR] before the 2025 World Expo” was removed from the application information for operators.
The Japanese government will accept proposal submissions from local governments that wish to host an IR between January and July 2021 and select up to three locations. Osaka Prefecture and Osaka City had been aiming to open an IR before the World Expo. They had hoped for a synergetic effect between the IR and World Expo, which will be held at a site adjacent to the location planned for the IR.